Study of Religions – Islam

King, Richard (1999) Orientalism and Religion: Post-Colonial Theory, India and the ‘Mystic East’, New York: Routledge.


Abou El Fadl, Khaled M., The Search for Beauty in Islam: A Conference of the Books. Rowman & Littlefield (2005). Expanded and updated. First edition: 2001.

A book on a variety of topics concerning Islam and its many manifestations in the modern world touching on issues such as interreligious tolerance, women’s rights, globalisation and competing discourses on Sharia from a Muslim perspective that avoids the pitfalls of both apologetic and defensive argumentation. All the chapters are shaped by Abou El Fadl’s object of the ‘search for beauty in Islam’. One of the most important Muslim voices on Islam today, critiquing Orientalist as well as extremist and intolerant interpretations of Islam and challenging many commonly held notions about the Islamic faith.


Abou El Fadl, Khaled M.,Speaking in God’s Name: Islamic Law, Authority and Women. Oneworld Press (2001).

A brilliant work taking apart extremist and reductionist interpretations of Islamic law and promoting an ethical approach towards its understanding. This book stands out amongst the growing number of books on ‘Sharia’ by revealing the complexity and diversity of the Muslim legal tradition.


2006 – “The Long-Durée: Entanglement Between Islamophobia and Racism in the Modern-Colonial Capitalist/Patriarchal World-System.” Human Architecture: Journal of the Sociology of Self-Knowledge V(1):Fall.


“Believing Women” in Islam: Unreading Patriarchal Interpretations of the Qur’an (University of Texas Press, 2002)

Does Islam call for the oppression of women? Non- Muslims point to the subjugation of women that occurs in many Muslim countries, especially those that claim to be “Islamic,” while many Muslims read the Qur’an in ways that seem to justify sexual oppression, inequality, and patriarchy. Taking a wholly different view, Asma Barlas develops a believer’s reading of the Qur’an that demonstrates the radically egalitarian and antipatriarchal nature of its teachings.

“Engaging Islamic Feminism: Provincializing feminism as a master narrative,” in Anitta Kynsilheto (ed.) Islamic Feminism: Current Perspectives, Occasional Papers, (Tampere Peace Research Institute, Finland, 2008).


Al-Muhaddithat: The Women Scholars in Islam – Mohammad Akram Nadawi

This book is an adaptation of the Muqaddima or Preface to Mohammad Akram s 40-volume biographical dictionary (in Arabic) of the Muslim women who studied and taught hadith. It presents, samples and reflects on the information in the dictionary. It demonstrates the central role Muslim women have had in preserving the Prophet’s teaching, which remains the master-guide to understanding the Qur an as rules and norms for life. Non-Muslims ignorant of the history here documented, and some Muslims afflicted by a different ignorance, have argued that education for women carried no importance in normative Islam. The opposite is true. Within the bounds of modesty in dress and manners, women routinely attended and gave classes in the major mosques and madrasas, travelled intensively for the knowledge , transmitted and critiqued hadith, issued fatwas, etc. Some of the most renowned scholars among men have depended on, and praised, the scholarship of their women teachers. The women, in short, enjoyed considerable public authority in society, not as an exception, but as the norm. Akram has pointed up a huge body of information hitherto so dispersed as to be hidden . This information deserves further study, context and analysis; it is essential to understanding the role of women in Islamic society, their past achievement and future potential.


Qur’an and Woman: Re-Reading the Sacred Text from a Woman’s Perspective, Amina Wadud

Fourteen centuries of Islamic thought have produced a legacy of interpretive readings of the Qu’ran written almost entirely by men. Now, with Qu’ran and Woman, Amina Wadud provides a first interpretive reading by a woman, a reading which validates the female voice in the Qu’ran and brings it out of the shadows. Muslim progressives have long argued that it is not the religion but patriarchal interpretation and implementation of the Qu’ran that have kept women oppressed. For many, the way to reform is the reexamination and reinterpretation of religious texts.


Do Muslim Women need saving? Lila Abu-Lughoud, Harvard University Press (8 Nov 2013)

Frequent reports of honor killings, disfigurement, and sensational abuse have given rise to a consensus in the West, a message propagated by human rights groups and the media: Muslim women need to be rescued. Lila Abu-Lughod boldly challenges this conclusion. An anthropologist who has been writing about Arab women for thirty years, she delves into the predicaments of Muslim women today, questioning whether generalizations about Islamic culture can explain the hardships these women face and asking what motivates particular individuals and institutions to promote their rights. In recent years Abu-Lughod has struggled to reconcile the popular image of women victimized by Islam with the complex women she has known through her research in various communities in the Muslim world. Here, she renders that divide vivid by presenting detailed vignettes of the lives of ordinary Muslim women, and showing that the problem of gender inequality cannot be laid at the feet of religion alone. Poverty and authoritarianism–conditions not unique to the Islamic world, and produced out of global interconnections that implicate the West–are often more decisive. The standard Western vocabulary of oppression, choice, and freedom is too blunt to describe these women’s lives. “Do Muslim Women Need Saving?” is an indictment of a mindset that has justified all manner of foreign interference, including military invasion, in the name of rescuing women from Islam–as well as a moving portrait of women’s actual experiences, and of the contingencies with which they live.


The Impossible State: Islam, Politics, and Modernity’s Moral Predicament, Hardcover – 21 Dec 2012 Wael Hallaq

Wael B. Hallaq boldly argues that the “Islamic state,” judged by any standard definition of what the modern state represents, is both impossible and inherently self-contradictory. Comparing the legal, political, moral, and constitutional histories of premodern Islam and Euro-America, he finds the adoption and practice of the modern state to be highly problematic for modern Muslims. He also critiques more expansively modernity’s moral predicament, which renders impossible any project resting solely on ethical foundations. The modern state not only suffers from serious legal, political, and constitutional issues, Hallaq argues, but also, by its very nature, fashions a subject inconsistent with what it means to be, or to live as, a Muslim. By Islamic standards, the state’s technologies of the self are severely lacking in moral substance, and today’s Islamic state, as Hallaq shows, has done little to advance an acceptable form of genuine Shari’a governance. The Islamists’ constitutional battles in Egypt and Pakistan, the Islamic legal and political failures of the Iranian Revolution, and similar disappointments underscore this fact. Nevertheless, the state remains the favoured template of the Islamists and the ulama (Muslim clergymen). Providing Muslims with a path toward realizing the good life, Hallaq turns to the rich moral resources of Islamic history. Along the way, he proves political and other “crises of Islam” are not unique to the Islamic world nor to the Muslim religion. These crises are integral to the modern condition of both East and West, and by acknowledging these parallels, Muslims can engage more productively with their Western counterparts.


The Meaning of Infinity In Sufi and Deconstructive Hermeneutics: When Is An Empty Text An Infinite One?


Sufism and Deconstruction: A Comparative Study of Derrida and Ibn Arabi, 2004, Routledge


The spirit of tolerance in Islam, Dr Reza Shah-Kazemi, I. B. Tauris Publishers in association with The Institute of Ismaili Studies, 2012. ISBN (Paperback): 978-1-78076-131-2

Through compelling historical illustration and careful theological exposition, this monograph mounts a concise but powerful argument that the Islamic faith is inherently and emphatically tolerant by nature and disposition. Part 1 examines the practice of tolerance in Muslim history, focusing upon four specific dynastic contexts: the Ottomans, Mughals, Fatimids and the Umayyads of Spain. Part 2 then explores the roots of this impressive tradition, revealing that the religious, political and legal tolerance characterising the history of Muslim encounters with other faith traditions is the outward expression of a profound spirit of respect for all revealed religions – a spirit enshrined in the Qur’anic revelation and embodied in the ethical comportment of Muhammad, the Prophet of Islam. Though aimed at a general readership, this work will be especially valuable to students and teachers in the areas of Muslim history, ethics and spirituality, as well as those interested in the role of Islam within the fields of comparative religion, interfaith dialogue and contemporary international relations.


Common Ground between Islam and Buddhism

This is an important and pioneering book, which seeks to find common ground between the teachings of Islam and of Buddhism. It is my hope that on the basis of this common ground, followers of each tradition may come to appreciate the spiritual truths their different paths entail, and from this develop a basis for respect for each others’ practice and beliefs.This may not have occurred very often before, because there has been so little opportunity for real understanding between these two great traditions.This book attempts to set that right … From a Buddhist point of view, the practice of Islam is evidently a spiritual path of


— His Holiness, the Fourteenth Dalai Lama

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